Eth0 Autumn 2019: Tiny Camp, Creative Badge

eth0-kartoffel-badge

From Jenny List on Hackaday:

Eth0 Autumn 2019: Tiny Camp, Creative Badge

The Dutch organisation eth0 has run a series of informal small camps over the years, never with an attendance too far into three figures, and without pre-planned events or entertainment. What happens is at the instigation of the attendees, and the result is a weekend of much closer socialising and working together on projects than the large camps where you spend your time running around to catch everything.

The largest of hacker camps offer all the lights, robots, tschunk, and techno music you can stomach; they can be a blast but also overwhelming. I made my way eth0 over the past week weekend, enjoying the more intimate size and coming away having made friendships from spending time with great people at a large private camping hostel near Lichtenvoorde. This is in the far east of the country near the German border, to which in the company of a British hardware hacker friend I traveled in the tiny European hatchback. Netherlands roads are so easy to navigate!

The badge itself has an interesting layout, because aside from a bit of badge.team and event related artwork it uses a multipurpose layout from Electronic Eel, that’s designed for both SMD and through-hole parts. This proved to be extremely versatile, but came with the slight burden that the through-hole pads were closely surrounded by the ground plane, making soldering a bit tricky. Despite this there was an enthusiastic take-up from camp attendees, with offerings that went well beyond the mundane.

For the majority of the attendees there was a badge bar, with plentiful supplies of LEDs ad other components. Some attendees made do with a pair of colour changing LEDs and a CR2032, but others made CMOS astable oscillators using 4093 Schmitt AND gates for the full flashing effect. It’s almost unexpected today when so much is done by microcontrollers to see people hacking logic gate oscillators, but there was a circuit bending element to it all that made for a more enjoyable experience.

A fully functional event badge built upon an event badge. Fuchsia's Tamafoxi runs the badge.team firmware.
A fully functional event badge built upon an event badge. Fuchsia’s Tamafoxi runs the badge.team firmware.

One or two badges sported extra lighting in the form of Neopixels and similar. This staple of the LED badge is the obvious choice for one like the eth0 badge, even with its relative lack of space. The piece de resistance of the eth0 winter 2019 badges though did not feature any LED lights, instead it came with a small OLED display and a set of buttons. Fuchsia’e Tamafoxi is a fully functional tamagotchi clone that runs under the badge.team badge firmware, for which a Wemos ESP32 board had been fitted to the back of the badge. Power wasn’t quite so elegant, requiring a small protoboard and LiPo cell sandwiched to the back of the badge, but for the feat of getting a badge that wouldn’t disgrace a much larger event running on what was in effect a fancy protoboard, we’ll forgive all that. Plenty of event badge teams have set out to achieve this level of functionality and not quite made it, so to do so on an event badge like this one is a very significant feat indeed.

This was a short camp by the standards of some others, starting on a Friday evening and wrapping up at Sunday lunchtime. We left in the drizzle of a damp autumn afternoon for the easy trip to the overnight ferry across the billiard-table-smooth Dutch motorways, without some of the stress of limited access while packing that comes with the larger camps. It had been everything we’d wanted from a small hacker camp and more, so speaking personally I’d certainly head back to this one if the opportunity arose.

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